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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with llody price, one of the rock- and-roll hit makers. breakout hits, like lawdy miss clawdy," one of the first to get national radio play. it went on to be recorded by elvis presley and the beatles. his hits also include "stagger lee," and he has released a new album called "i'm feeling good." we are glad you could join us for our conversation with lloyd price, coming up right now. >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing.
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we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: so llody price was there from the very beginning of rock- and-roll. his song "lawdy miss clawdy" crashed through barriers, going to mainstream radio. he included in hits like it's a personality" and -- like
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"personality" and "stagger lee," and he was inducted into the hall of fame. maybe this will jog your memory. ♪ rightreat me what you are doing to made i am going to tell everybody ♪ >> now, wikipedia says you turn 80 in march, and i am looking at you, and that cannot be possible. >> do you know what? it is. tavis: [laughs] the sunday chitlins.
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you could not be turning 80 in march. >> well, it is true, tavis. and it don't seem like it. it don't feel like it. i have done what i have done all of my life. i love sports, and i am a bowler. tavis: ok, go ahead and brag about your bowling. >> i have got six perfect games. tavis: all right. [laughter] >> it is very difficult. 73 million people bowl every year. on the 2.5% of the people have ever shot a perfect game. tavis: and you have got six. how did you ever get turned on to bolling? >> they used to allow us to bolt
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once a week. it was in the south. we could bowl sunday nights, one game. i will tell you how long that has been. bolling was 11 cents a line, and now it is $8 a line now. tavis: and you have been doing it since you were nine. what does bowling do for you? >> it is the only thing that clears all of my channels. there is nothing i can do about that. once that ball leaves your hand, it is gone. you have to have it figured out before you throw the ball, whichever you use, and that is what it does. it gives you a chance to be competitive with yourself. nobody else. it is all you. you win, or you lose. tavis: i want to pick up on that matter for and ask how that
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philosophy, b, bowling philosophy about competing against yourself -- too often, human beings missed that point. life is not about competing with other people. when i talk to students in business school, when i am lecturing, talking about my business and how i started my company, etc., and you can always see the professional rolling their eyes in the back of the room when it is about competing with the other guys. they think it is about company x competing with company y competing with company z. it is about competing with yourself. this is my product, and ultimately, i want to know how well i can produce this product tree it really in business, it is about competing with yourself and your own product. how does that apply to your musical career?
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competing against yourself? >> it is almost the same formula. i use it all of the time. it ain't nobody but me. and to get back to this bowling thing, what makes a great bowler, they hardly even looked at each other. >> -- tavis: right. >> there is nothing you can do. every song i ever written, and i have been on the charts 34 times, every song i have written -- well, i do not know about that. well, i say, "i do." bam! [laughter] tavis: did you feel that way about "lawdy miss clawdy"? and now i am curious about what other people thought about "lawdy miss clawdy." >> they thought i was insane.
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when i recorded "lawdy miss clawdy," i was still in school. they used to call me mr. blues. i wanted to get out of louisiana because of the conditions and the way things were there, and i thought i've got to do something to get out of here. there were two things. including joe louis. i'd trade boxing -- i tried boxing and got knocked out in the second round. tavis: it was not a bowling ball. >> and then jordan was the king. he was our elvis, you know what i mean? this cat has got nice hair. how did he get that hair like that i did not know anything. the first time i tried that, i burned my head. this is not it. tavis: there is that seen in malcolm x, getting burned. go ahead. i am sorry.
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>> so we had our first black jockey coming on the air in new orleans, and he was talking about maxwell coffee. his name was okey dokey smidge. pie, and drink maxwell house coffee." it was always, this is wsdu." there was a black guy on the radio. that was like knocking out rocky marciano. a small kid in the south who had nothing to look forward to. this cat was on the radio. if he was on the radio, i knew i had the shot. i wanted to be on the dew point -- do box.
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-- juke box." when he said, "lawdy miss clawdy," he was just trying to sell coffee. he would come on, 20 minutes today, half an hour tomorrow, that kind of stuff. tavis: probably because he was black. >> we knew it was a black radio, but it was on sunday. shouting. the preacher. this guy was something different. i listened to him every day. i started to figure out how to play piano, and the first bank i figured out was that eight-chord blues cord. -- chord. and then i thought about "lawdy miss clawdy," and then i thought
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about the shuffle, and that put me on the way. it was against me, and everybody thought i was crazy. and then when i took that great song, "misty," i wanted to figure out how to do it. i could not sing it like sarah vaughn. i am say and you always have to work things out for yourself first, and then you are the only one you knew it did not work. tavis: if it don't work. you said two things about new orleans that i wanted to go back on. when you first heard okey dokey on the radio, you did not have a lot to look forward to as a
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black kid in the south and did not even know who you were. >> that is right. tavis: how did you find out who you work, how did you come into your own humanity >> i have travelled many, many miles across this country. it was in 1957. i went to families day and heard the honorable elijah muhammed at madison square garden. 19 years old. he said, you have got to come here. tavis: for the young people watching, i have to make it clear that that is muhammad ali, and used to be cassius clay. >> it was not about somebody coming to sab. it was not about somebody flying through the clouds. he said, "you have got to save
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yourself." you are somebody. i had sold 50 million records, and every time i would go down south, when i would get these attacks, because i am driving big cars and things like that, it would be "boy, get out of the car." and i thought, how much do we have to wait to be a man, you know? 500 pounds. wilt chamberlain. has he grown enough? he is 7 feet tall. i always had the same mental stable like i have now, and i just could not adjust to -- i did not know who i was until i went and hurt elijah muhammad. "you are somebody." -- when i first heard him. if you keep letting people identify you who you are, you are always point to be a nobody. you have got to stand up.
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and whenever the man stands for, i stand for. i am a veteran. i am a veteran. i am entitled to veterans -- whatever veterans get. i am saying that hypothetically. but what really drove it home for me is i never understood how the immigrants that have come here to this country and after eight years become full citizens. i have been here, i am saying as a black man, ever since the country exists, almost, and i am still living under civil rights. every 10 years, i've got to get renewed. what is this? i have done everything right, trying to be an american.
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i am not excepting african- american. i am an american. that, too, works inside myself as being a positive person. i am as equal as anyone else who called themselves whatever. i do not know anything else about anything else, and i lived in africa for 15 years. i lived all in nigeria and gahna. 1978, i was there when the government got elected, the second republic. tavis: let me jump. speaking of africa, i do not want to miss the point, and as you tell these stories, i do not want to interrupt, but lloyd price co-produced "rumble in the jungle" with don king. he was living in africa and was one of the producers of one of the greatest fights of all time. >> yes, and i was watching how
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things operate in the corners of power and how the world is divided, you know, in the andvees and the -- the haves have-nots. i have been renamed eight times. tavis: black, negro, african- american. >> there was a general in nigeria. he said, "why do you guys always come over here like you are going to help us?" "help me do what? we never lost our language. we never lost our home. we never lost our culture." he said, "who are you?" i said, "i am an american." he said, "no. you do not have any land.
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what is your culture? what is your tradition? even what is your religion?" and that had me thinking. turning this around. ice and i am a cologne. clone. i am a clone of the white man. you can call me whatever you like to call me. i do not know nothing else to be but hooah i am. and he said that is how we deal with you. tavis: you have gone to meddlin now. that is what my grandmother would say. i want to turn this conversation into being a clone of a white man, and you are going to come back another day, and we are going to talk about just that subject matter.
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it is important. this is black history month, so there is no better time. but i digress. that is a very deep point that i want to merit it on myself. i do want to come back to this point of you being a veteran, because you are a veteran. >> right. tavis: and you became a veteran after you were a star already. "lawdy miss clawdy" song was already out. you were on the charts, and you ended up being drafted. >> that is right. tavis: so you went to fight. >> why they took me, before i went in, no family was entitled to have more than four men from the same family. tavis: right. >> at that time i was drafted, i had five brothers in the service. my fifth brother could not be in the armed service because he was too many, so he had to join the
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coast guard. they took me because i had started something that had never happened in america before. i had started integration with my music. the first teenage idol in america to sold -- to sell 1 million records. i did not know anything about this. all of this was chinese. but the guy who produce to me later wrote a book about this being the first million-selling record ever of that genre of music in the united states, and what happens? me being from the south, i understood it. we as kids never even spoke -- white kids and black kids, but when that music came out, skating started. everything had a fad. these kids started skating together, and the parents could not stop them from going to listen to this music. i had five records on the charts before i got drafted, and the
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order came down to my draft board in louisiana. i had to go. i had my lawyers, and everybody trying to keep me out, and they said there was nothing they can do about it, because what i was doing was breaking the law. there were things happening that had never happened before. tavis: so it was a way to get rid of you by getting you out of the country? >> that is right. and every time they did that, that craze started something in america. if they did not have me, somebody had to have a lloyd price and a "lawdy miss clawdy." tavis: and, essentially, when you came back, michael richards had taken over. >> i was talking to the president of a record company, and he said, "you did not have any records in the can. i told you to records of the, and i've heard little richard."
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the first time i heard little richard, a man had never worn hair like that. it was in georgia. five of my brothers. there were eight boys in my family. there were four or five of them with me, because they were protecting me, and this kid jump up on the stage, jumped up on the piano, doing the same thing he is doing now, jumping up on the piano. tavis: that was a good impression of him. >> i happened to call the record company out here, who i was recording for, and when he was bawling me out for no product, but there was another guy calling himself little richard in macon, ga., and i think my little brother knows how to find him. we will see if we can get in touch with him. we got together and found little
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richard. we went to new orleans and recorded him. that same band that i recorded "lawdy miss clawdy" with, fats domino, dave bartholomew. tavis: and the rest they say is history. >> yes. tavis: i am running out of time. your next project, i read a funny story about this project, that this project, you actually inspired to do it by watching it american idol"? >> good music is finally coming back, we're your mistakes. you do not hear this perfidy and harmony without mistakes. good entertainment is mistakes.
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the tempo don't be right sometimes, but you managed to do it. this is creative artist tree. i thought i would do another album. i went into the food business. i am selling products in walmart. cookies. tavis: they are good. i have tasted them, probably too many of them. >> and i thought i need to record again. this industry needs a great music. the music business is great songs. it all starts with the songs, and the way the business is going, in a few years, there will be no music business let. so i want to just try to make some music, and maybe people will fall in. and i am noticing now. tavis: the young folks are noticing. tell us about this book i have in my hand. >> you know how people do not
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tell the truth. the story begins with the writer. it does not begin with the true history. it begins with how he saw it. he may have been born 20 years before it's started. tavis: that is how it works. >> so he starts there. what i tried to do in creating this book is to have exactly whoever and whatever they contributed, and i used the pictures to the identified them and the date they did it. for example, until 1952, there were no black beads. there were drawbars, but no back seats, and there were no guitarists. they were there, but they were not featured. the featured in st. was the piano, and there was no such -- the featured instrument was the piano. it was a group of records in a book heavy enough that if you
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got caught with it, people would think you stole something. so what happens, this book tells you exactly what happened. bb king had the first record with a guitar solo in it, 3:00 in the morning, and brown had the first instrumental. what that contribution was -- tavis: the book tells the truth. because stork truth -- the historic truth. it is a great book. i was thinking about what you said about the truth, that old adage that been -- the hunter's view is only in relation to the lion. that is not what happens. there were eight of them, and they threw a net on me.
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lloyd price, his latest. you want to add this to your collection, and for those music buffs who want the true story of the true king of the 1950's, "lawdy miss clawdy," the music, authentic, historic truth, all of those you see on the cover about who did what, when, and where. i am proud to have this rock- and-roll hall of famer on the program. thank you for coming on the program. next time, cookies. >> i will make sure you get a truck full. tavis: appreciate that. that is our show for tonight. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with anthony edwards about his return to series television in the new abc series. that is next time. we will see you then.
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>> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminate hunger, and we have a lot of work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs. >> be more. pbs.
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Tavis Smiley
PBS February 20, 2013 12:00am-12:30am PST

News/Business. Taj Mahal, Lloyd Price. (2013) Musician Taj Mahal; singer Lloyd Price. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Clawdy 5, America 3, Africa 3, Bolling 2, Tavis Smiley 2, Pbs 2, U.s. 2, Lloyd 2, Us 2, Louisiana 2, New Orleans 2, Nigeria 2, Gahna 1, Sarah Vaughn 1, Marciano 1, Wilt Chamberlain 1, Elijah Muhammad 1, United States 1, Lawdy 1, Muhammad Ali 1
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